“You can win at another school’s competition, but when you’re winning your own tournament, it feels a lot more meaningful. It’s nice to know the trophy is with its rightful school and not sitting in a random case,” senior Allan Muinov said.
For the first time in four years, the boys varsity tennis team stood on top of the podium at the Mustang Invitational. The Mustang Invitational is a yearly tournament hosted by MN, generally at the beginning of the season.
“Since we host it, we obviously want to win that tournament. It almost feels like a source of pride. It’s a good sign that we can beat some really good competition and take that invitational,” senior Jalan Zhu said. “Wins like this are a good sign leading up to the state.”
The tennis team has already faced its fair share of challenges this season, including recently introducing a new head coach for both the girls’ and boys’ tennis teams, Isabelle Wostoupal.
“With a new coach this year, it is a whole different environment. Creating that bond with a coach can be tough, but I feel like it’s gone very well,” senior Connor Gharst said. “As a team, we know we will always support each other, and we know our coach is there to help.”
The boys on the team have developed great chemistry with each other these last couple of years, making the team a much greater competitor.
“Tennis is more of an individual sport. But outside of matches, we have a fun and welcoming environment. Sometimes when one of our teammates is having a bad day, we will support them. We’re kind of like a family,” Muinov said. “There are 11 members on the team, and 8 of them are seniors. We’ve known each other since sophomore year, so we get along really well.”
Outside of practice, the boys will host team dinners or have group bonding activities. And before big game days, each player gets ready, both individually and as a team.
“I make sure I am physically ready. I will hydrate a lot the night before, make sure I have enough snacks and drinks, and mentally be prepared for the day,” Zhu said. “As a team, the day before matches, we have a light-hearted practice where we get our bodies loose and prepare ourselves for the next day.”
With the tennis team already hitting off their season with a running start, the state title is looking very attainable.
“If we all play our best and prepare the right way, we definitely can win state. There’s going to be a lot of tough competition and good teams, but I believe we can win,” Muinov said.